Weekly Digest – 13 March 2024

Welcome to our Weekly Digest – stay in the know with some recent news updates relevant to business and the economy.

Budget 2024: Some good news but still serious challenges

Responding to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget, Federation of Small Businesses Policy Chair Tina McKenzie recognised some good news, but still some challenges for small business owners.

UK economy ‘turned a corner’ despite slight weakening in services sector

Business activity in the UK’s all-important services sector was weaker than first thought in February, but it remained higher than at any point in the second half of 2023, a closely watched survey revealed.

Government aims for Year of the SME in 2024

The UK government has relaunched the Help to Grow campaign, which offers resources to help SMEs get started, devise growth strategies and identify funding options. The government has declared 2024 the Year of the SME, acknowledging the essential role that small businesses play in the UK economy.

How did UK small and medium-sized enterprises manage during the pandemic?

The Economics Observatory discusses how UK small and medium-sized enterprises managed during the pandemic, finding that start-ups and smaller companies were disproportionately affected by the economic shock from Covid-19. Despite their limited access to private sources of finance, many were able to stay afloat because they adapted their business models and made use of government loan schemes.

UK economy likely to be ‘unexpectedly strong’ this year

The UK economy is likely to be among the fastest growing economies in the world this year as inflation falls and real incomes rise, according to Steven Bell, chief economist at Columbia Threadneedle.

UK’s largest pension scheme warns against overreaching government reforms

As the UK government embarks on its reforms of the UK pensions industry, the leader of the largest private sector pension scheme cautioning against excessive government intervention. Carol Young, CEO of the £73 billion Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), supports new disclosure requirements but expresses concern over potential government directives on fund allocation.

Fiscal fiction’ underpins UK’s pre-election budget, economists say

The assumptions underpinning British finance minister Jeremy Hunt’s new pre-election budget plan stretch the bounds of credulity and leave urgent questions about the future of public services unaddressed, economists said on Thursday.

UK house prices near 2022 peak after fifth monthly rise in a row

The average UK house price is now just £1,800 off the peak recorded in June 2022 after it increased by 0.4% in February, marking the fifth monthly rise in a row, according to Halifax.

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